Berms and swales - terracing - creating water ways

Many understand and use concepts such as ponds to collect excessive rainwater. This post is about advanced concepts i use of not just collecting it from the fields but directing it to centralized points and using as much of it as possible. This video discusses the concept of berms and swales

So why use berms and swales? One of the first things i did after several years of dirt farming my property was to come up with an idea to stop.
Quickly realized i needed to stop dirt farming because it causes erosion on a scale greater than most people can imagine. Having lived it and done it i understand better than most how big the problem is. My property had huge ditches in parts of it when i purchased it that had been there a long time. They were not supposed to be there they were from bare farm ground allowing water to pass over it and taking dirt with it washing that out to creeks. I repaired terraces, fixed ponds , planted grass and trees instead of using bare farm ground

May not always use terms like berm and swale but im well aware of the techniques and use them all the time as shown here. The problem with clay soils - rain or drought

Like me you cannot do anything about the 20 feet of missing topsoil from the hundred + years of poor farming practices. We can build up from what we have and leave that for the next generation. Wealth is land not money and if we take care of the land it takes care of us. The idea of monoculture seems to be growing unfortunately. Single crops seldom work out long term in large areas. Modern methods of agriculture require some monoculture for the system to work but it can be done responsibly. Dirt Farming beside a river as an example might not allow enough of a barrier for dirt washing out of fields. The dirt from erosion winds up suspended in water and ultimately thevrivers wind up very muddy as can be observed with the Kansas, Missouri, and Missippi rivers all the way to the point where the mississippi flows into the gulf of Mexico.

Small things can be done as we go to collect moisture and concentrate it where we need it for plants

Planting cover crops helps and so does mulch, legumes etc.

Methods like the double dig and others help to restore the land

Permaculture can be highly effective

No matter how bad your land was treated before you got it the land can recover

The thread below clearly shows me using the ruth stout mulchine methods.

Gershuny, jeavons and many others influence much of my farm work

Tree Legumes or grass legumes fix nitrogen and restore my property

These are clovers i plant.

Is agriculture sustainable?


Many people are using individual mounds Search results for 'Mounds' - Growing Fruit but consider using a long solid berm and swale might be easier than individual mounds. I’m bringing this up for many reasons. When i grow sweet cherries here they must go on a mound of some type or they drowned. Unfortunately that lesson cost me a bunch of money when first planting cherries.


Here is an example picture from my field catching water in a terrace which is similar to a berm and swale type setup. Snow can be caught in a water way the same way. Im using blackberries and brome to hold the soil in that waterway. Notice they are not dormant most of the winter. Once you have the water it has to be put somewhere which is the pond. There are lots of terraces catching water and dumping it in the pond

Every inch of my fields have terraces or water ways to deal with errosion.